LA Chargers News

Former Chargers coach Anthony Lynn still stuck in running ways

Detroit Lions Off-Season Workout
Detroit Lions Off-Season Workout / Leon Halip/Getty Images
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After four seasons together, the LA Chargers decided to move on from Anthony Lynn. Lynn's overall record with the team was not bad and he helped lead one of the most successful Charger teams this century in 2018.

However, his decision-making in close games was very obviously holding this team back. It was more than just the bang-bang decisions on when to call a time out, or challenge a play, though.

It was the decision making on how to run the offense (shelling up any time the team was up to allow a comeback), or even worse, not having the guys prepared between a terrible special teams unit and two instances where the Chargers could not get a play off in the red zone.

The LA Chargers have now turned to the Brandon Staley era and it truly does seem to be a massive upgrade for the team. Meanwhile, Lynn was hired to be the offensive coordinator of the bound-to-be terrible Detroit Lions.

And despite getting a record-setting quarterback in 2020 to show him the error in his ways, former NFL running back Anthony Lynn still has not gone away from his desire to run the football.

According to Anthony Lynn, it all starts on the ground.

Anyone that watched the Chargers last year knows that Anthony Lynn's line of thinking is wrong.

This is an old football mantra that simply does not hold up in the modern game. The passing game is more important than ever and while it is obviously important to have a good running game, every successful team in the league has to first establish a good passing game.

The problem with Lynn is his stubbornness to turn to the run even when it was not working. Austin Ekeler missed significant time last season, Joshua Kelley was downright awful, multiple other injuries occurred to the running backs AND the offensive line was horrible.

Despite all of this, the offense always had to get started with the run. And when the Chargers took the lead it was all about running the clock out and protecting the lead, not extending it.

The important metric to consider here is first-down play choice. The Chargers threw the ball a lot last year because they were in a lot of second and third and longs. That is because they ran the ball a lot on first down, despite it not being effective.

According to Warren Sharp's Sharp Football Stats, the LA Chargers had the 10th-highest first-down run rate in the league, calling a run play 53% of the time on first down. Their success rate was 42%, averaging 3.9 yards per carry.

Every other team in the top-14 in terms of first-down run rate had at least a 45% success rate, most were in the high 40s and low 50s. Better yet, they were the only team in the bottom 14 to average fewer than four yards per first-down carry.

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You can be a successful team and run the ball a lot on first down but you have to be good at it. Of course teams like the Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns are going to run the ball a lot on first down. They also have elite running back situations.

The Chargers have Austin Ekeler, sure, but the first-down runs obviously were not working at the rate they should have. And despite this, the Chargers leaned into it and tried defining themselves as a run-first team when they really should have been a past-first team.

The biggest problem with Anthony Lynn's line of thinking is his stubbornness. This idea that the game of football is still determined by who can run the ball better. Clutching on to the hope that the old game of football will return.

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It probably does make more sense to run it more in Detroit with DeAndre Swift at running back and Jared Goff at quarterback. It didn't make sense with the LA Chargers and that is why he was fired.

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